"I got news for 'em. There's gonna be hell to pay. 'Cause I ain't daddy's little boy no more."

Archive for the ‘Blog Post (short for weblog)’ Category

a new piece on STONE COLD

Monday, October 5th, 2015

tn_stonecoldThose of you who participate in the “Twitter” brand social media platform might have seen an account called “One. Perfect. Shot.” It follows the simple idea of posting beautiful frames from favorite movies, so you can admire their composition and lighting and what not. For example here’s a nice one from today:

I didn’t know this at first, but the guy that does it is Geoff Todd, who was the editor over at Daily Grindhouse when I did a column there. He also collects them at a websight, oneperfectshotdb.com, complete with, like, articles and shit. He asked me to write some of those articles and shit, and he’s always been good to me, so what the hell. I will be writing one or two perfect essays a month over there.

Since most of his readers probly don’t know me from Adam and Steve I figured I should introduce myself with a movie that truly represented who I am and what I represent, not only as a writer but also as a human being here on this planet just trying to get by and travel this journey you know what I mean so obviously I wrote the only thing a man in that situation CAN write, a little piece called:

Strictly Bozness: The Fiery Majesty of ‘Stone Cold’

I know I’ve written about this movie a couple times before, but come on. It’s fucking STONE COLD, man. This won’t be the last time either. “Stricly Bozness,” by the way, is what I wanted to call my book on the films of Brian Bosworth before I determined that too many of them (including the barely aired TV show he starred in) were unavailable for me to do it. Maybe some day.

Anyway, check it out and feel free to comment over there so they know somebody gave a shit.

My new most anticipated movie: MANIAC COP

Friday, September 25th, 2015

tn_maniaccopWell, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD had a good decade-plus run as my most anticipated movie. And that worked out well. I doubt I’ll ever see another one pay off like that in my life, but it’s always good to have things to look forward to, to keep you going.

Right now there are plenty of lower key projects to be excited about, from the finally-happening BOYKA: UNDISPUTED IV to the new STAR WARS picture. But right now the one that pushes my buttons the most is actually a remake of MANIAC COP.

This has been in development for a while, to be produced by Nicolas Winding Refn and (last I heard) scripted by Ed Brubaker, writer of acclaimed crime comics (and Seattleite I believe). Sounds fantastic. But what takes this news to the next level is the director: John Hyams, the genius behind UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, DRAGON EYES, THE SMASHING MACHINE and RANK. I have spent the last five years wondering why the hell some studio hasn’t given this guy a budget to deal with, since his straight-to-video works easily out-thrill, out-style and out-smart most big screen action movies, including $200 million dollar duds like, I’m sorry to say, the recent TERMINATOR picture. (read the rest of this shit…)

Update from last year’s Halloween special

Friday, September 18th, 2015

tn_nightmareonmystreetLast Halloween I did an important, should’ve-been-award-winning piece called Analysis: “A Nightmare On My Street” vs. “Are You Ready For Freddy?”, in which I compared and contrasted the Freddy Krueger themed song by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince with the one by The Fat Boys. Today I have a brief update, or sequel if you will, to that piece.

In the piece I embedded the “Are You Ready For Freddy?” video, but said there was no video for “A Nightmare On My Street.” In the comments it came up that people including Jake thought they remembered seeing a video. I feel like I would remember such a video existing, but more importantly it’s not on Youtube, on any of the many extras-packed DVDs and Blu-Rays of the Elm Street series, in the excellent 4-hour documentary NEVER SLEEP AGAIN, or on the DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince video collection.

Since then I’ve encountered other people who think they remember seeing it, so I looked into it again. Wikipedia says

“The song was considered for inclusion in the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, but the producers of the film decided against its inclusion. New Line Cinema, copyright holders of the A Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise, sued DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s record label for copyright infringement, forcing the label to destroy a music video produced for the song. Both sides eventually settled out of court.”

but since this section is not sourced I wondered if some of it could be an urban legend. The very specific language of the disclaimer sticker on the record supports the existence of a lawsuit or threat of one, but would they really have made a video before that happened? (read the rest of this shit…)

R.I.P. Wes Craven

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

tn_cravenDamn, I never see these things coming. I sat down tonight to work on some writing and stumbled across the news that a favorite director has passed away today.

Before he directed the dirty, disgusting LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, Wes Craven was a college professor, and I’ve alway thought that made sense. To listen to him in interviews and commentaries he always seemed like the most thoughtful and literary-minded of the horror directors. He was interested in primal fears and ancient myths and where those intersect with modern lives. By directing SCREAM (from the screenplay by Kevin Williamson) he accidentally kicked off the meta era of horror, but I always felt he’d gotten there earlier in his own WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE, where he made the played-out no-longer-scary-ness of his own creation, Freddy Krueger, part of the mythology. In that one the ELM STREET movies were just that – movies – but they were also an important tool of humanity because they could keep at bay the primordial force that inspired the character. The real Freddy.

Think about this. In 1972 Craven directed LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, which helped kick off the slasher cycle of horror. In 1984 he directed A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, which started the supernatural slasher movies, and the ’80s era of slasher movie icons. Basically, Freddy became the Hulk Hogan of horror. (Even down to the racism, ’cause he said something pretty foul in FREDDY VS. JASON.) And think of what the Elm Street series meant for special effects makeup, with all those gooey, one-upping dream sequences they came up with each time. That’s why I was always a Freddy guy. I was into all that latex and crazy transformations and shit. (read the rest of this shit…)

R.I.P. Rowdy Roddy Piper

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

tn_roddypiperI was shocked and saddened today to stumble across the news that wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper had died. I didn’t see this one coming. I thought he was gonna be one of the ones that gets to grow old.

I know some of you are serious wrestling fans to this day. That’s not me. But I’m one of the millions who was obsessed with WWF wrestling in the 1980s. It was a time when pro wrestling stopped being seen as a lowbrow fringe activity and was allowed to intersect with all parts of culture. Andy Warhol went to a Wrestlemania. Cindy Lauper and Alice Cooper became wrestling managers. A more experienced manager, Captain Lou Albano, played Lauper’s father in a video. Wrestlers released terrible albums, which I bought on vinyl. On Saturday mornings there was a cartoon called Hulk Hogan’s Rock-n-Wrestling, and every fourth Saturday Night NBC showed wrestling in place of SNL. When one of these Saturday Night’s Main Events took place in Seattle I was there. I was thrilled to see Andre the Giant in person (although he didn’t wrestle) and Brian Bosworth in the crowd. I was [undisclosed] years old and witnessing these larger than life individuals – cartoons of good, evil and awesome sculpted out of muscle and fat and encased in colorful spandex – was like catching a glimpse of the Greek gods. (read the rest of this shit…)


Friday, July 31st, 2015

tn_americanshaolinAs you all know, I’m a fan of movies where the title is “AMERICAN” and then an Asian word. AMERICAN NINJA, AMERICAN SAMURAI, etc. So AMERICAN SHAOLIN is obviously on my radar. It’s another one written by Keith Strandberg, who did the NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER series (this has sometimes been labelled as part 5, since they’re not really connected anyway). It’s also the first role for Daniel Dae Kim, who went on to be on Lost, 24, Hawaii 5-0, etc.

I haven’t actually found it yet, so I haven’t seen it, but I bring it up because this guy Anatolij contacted me about it. He’s such a fan of the movie that he’s trying to start a record company just to put out the soundtrack. These are the types of dreams I believe in, so I’m doing my part to spread the word. I think he’s just looking for people to put on a mailing list to prove there is interest in a soundtrack and, more importantly I imagine, a Blu-Ray.

Anatolij also writes, “Apart from the AMERICAN SHAOLIN soundtrack, I want to make a community of cool soundtrack fans, who are interested in supporting other underrated unreleased soundtracks. There are some fans who have soundtrack wishes, and I think it would be pretty cool to have a good support base. A CD costs not a lot, and if you can support a release with that, that’s a great thing.”

So check out Spirit Touch Records and spread the word if you know people who would be interested.

You don’t like good books? Tough.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

tn_goodtoughdeadlyoprahsYou guys know my friend david j. moore, right? He did those NINJA II on-set interviews for us back in 2013, and he’s the author of the awesome coffee table book World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies, which I had the honor of writing the introduction to.

Well, back when he first contacted me about that he told me about this next book he was working on, and I’m not sure there will ever be another book more up my alley. THE GOOD, THE TOUGH & THE DEADLY: Action Movie Stars 1960s-Present is his upcoming opus about “every action star who’s crossed over from the world of martial arts, sports, professional wrestling, and stunt work.” We’re talking a big, beautiful 560 page hardcover book with photos and everything between over 1,000 action movies reviews, a few of them contributed by yours truly (me [Vern]), plus some by Zack Carlson and Mike McPadden. If it’s anything like World Gone Wild I’ll have an ever-growing must-see list folded up inside it as a bookmark.

But I’m more excited for david’s interviews with 70+ action stars and filmmakers. He’s mentioned to me who some of them are, and basically it’s most of the people we talk about here. Yes, big famous people, but also the lesser knowns who in my opinion are more interesting and important to hear from. david’s got encyclopedic (is it wikipedic now?) action knowledge, especially the DTV and the ’80s and ’90s sub-Van-Damme type stuff that most fascinates me. On the rare occasions when I tell him one he doesn’t know I feel like I should get a medal or something.

And by the way, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can assume this one really gets it because it knew it was important to have helicopters and ninjas in the background.

The book will be available December 28th, but you can pre-order it right now. What, are you gonna decide between now and then that this is not a book for you? I doubt that very much.

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory – celebrating 20 years of nobody beating him in the kitchen

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

tn_us2us2-20I know the internet reminds us that every day is the 20th anniversary of something or other, and that’s not always a good thing. There is too much nostalgia, and too many factoids. We need to learn how to live in the present, otherwise what the hell anniversary are we gonna celebrate 20 years from today? But today, my friends, is an important one: July 14th, 1995 was the day the world was gifted UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY.

I think you know how I feel about this movie. It stands as one of Seagal’s best big studio movies, one of the great sequels in the history of action, and one of the best DIE HARD rip offs. It’s a cool, accessible Seagal with a great supporting cast (especially the villains) doing enjoyable special-effects-based spectacle action while also spreading the gospel of choking and wrist-snapping. I’m not sure I can write a new review of it, since of course I wrote a whole chapter about it for my book Seagalogy: The Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal and talked a little more about it in my Cinefamily Journal last year. So instead, to honor the occasion, let’s take a look at some of the key players and consider how much they’ve accomplished in the two decades since. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ash vs Evil Dead trailer

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Man, of all the crazy crossovers, who would ever think we’d see Ash get to fight Evil Dead? Holy shit, who is gonna win!?

I think this looks really good. EVIL DEAD meets old man action. Of course it looks like all jokes, more like ARMY OF DARKNESS than my preferred EVIL DEAD 1-2 tone, but that’s what you gotta do with modern Bruce Campbell, I think. It’s got a good look to it, though. Nice modern take on the style of the movies. (No cinematographer listed on IMDb.)

For those who haven’t heard, this is a TV series with half hour episodes. That’s unusual for a horror show of course, but I like it. It suggests it will be fast-paced, no dragging it out to fill the hour like on some shows. The pilot is directed by Sam Raimi, and other directors aren’t listed on IMDb, but I’m pretty sure there are some. The music is by the movie’s composer, Joseph LoDuca. At least one episode is edited by the film’s Academy Award winning (for THE HURT LOCKER) editor, Bob Murawski.

Speaking of Apollo…

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

I think most of us will agree that this looks promising. If you didn’t know about this, director Ryan Coogler got some heat for his debut FRUITVALE STATION, and then instead of signing on to some studio’s pet horror remake or comic book movie like he’s supposed to he pushed his dream project of a movie about Apollo Creed’s son being trained by Rocky. Stallone loved the screenplay and agreed to do it.